Elements of Dance is a community driven organisation celebrating movement, music and the medicine of life. Our purpose for being and the fuel behind our creation is to share the wonder that can be tapped into when we awaken the medicine inside the self. This medicine is based on free movement and exploration through dance; not working to an audience or a set routine but discovering the dance that is waiting inside of you at that very moment.
The name itself is 2-fold: we work in participation and recognition with the elements all around us and within us - namely Air, Fire, Water, Earth and Spirit. But the name also attests to the fact that it is simply elements of dance - not restricting it to the common assumption of what many people's view of dance is but that it is free movement and sometimes this might come in a very still or meditative way.
The creation of Elements of Dance has evolved in the West Suffolk community over the past 4 years originally taking form as Dance Rhythms. The lineage of this dance medicine comes through the teachings of Leo Rutherford who Hannah trained with in 2018. This is no ordinary dance training or experience as it doesn't focus on dance technique, style or competence but instead is driven by the individual's story, freedom of movement and intentional release. The purpose is about awakening the dances that reside in the roots of our souls; the words that lay dormant in our bodies, that perhaps we can't speak through the voice but can allow through movement. After the little lapse in worldwide community gatherings (2020!) Hannah extended the dance into the wider community and, through collaborations, Elements of Dance evolved.
Although Leo's lineage is focused in Native American tradition and learning, the process of dance exploration and freedom is universal and we feel should not be restricted or limited to any specific lineage. In these lands of the Anglo Saxons dance would have been in the centre of the community much like song, weaving itself into the seasonal celebrations and giving regular opportunities for community gathering and release. We are blessed to base our dance home in the lands of West Stow and recreate some of the magic from the past.
The dance process is held in a sacred space and we ask that all participants honour this. It follows a process of fun warm ups and shaking away inhibitions, intention setting, 1:1 conversation mirroring and a blindfold dance journey. Each dancer has a witness to protect them as they dance; after the first dancer has danced, we swap over and the witness becomes the dancer. Dance journeys can often be a deep experience so time is always allowed afterwards as we make the transition between worlds.
Dance medicine is a superb, safe place to explore archetypal roles, play out relationships or chew on circumstances that are taking place in our lives. It can be a basis to create a story through the means of movement helping people express and process things that might or might not feel related. Using the body rather than words as the force of expression is enormously valuable in helping to process concerns, desires or expectations we or others might have placed on ourselves.
You can expect all sorts of music! An eclectic mix of music from different genres & cultures, often with a tribal edge and an earthy or ethereal vibe. The music is chosen with great consideration to help dancers find a journey of discovery in their dance and movement. *We are forever in gratitude to the phenomenal artists out there creating music in the world.
DANCE & STORY
There will be fun, guided warm ups as a group before entering the main dance journey section. This dance process is unique in that the dancers are encouraged to wear blindfolds to quicken and deepen their inner, meditative journey and release the inhibitions of sight. Blindfolds are always provided but are not required to be worn if people would rather not use them. Each dancer has a witness / protector because of using a blindfold; the purpose of the witness is not to be involved in the dance other than to keep them safe. The dancer / witness is then swapped over so everyone gets to dance the main dance journey. Dancers are not required to dance in any specific way other than what feels intuitive for them, dancing as much or as little as they so wish! To give gravity to our dance journeys, we use the mirror of somebody else to explore our own internal dialogue - this adds richness to our own dances. It is not required to come with somebody, the dance is an individual process and non-contact.